This is a particularly silly brand of trolling. If Tanden had needed 60 she wouldn’t have had a chance. Even in a majority-rule Senate, some progressive priories won’t make it. But they all will stand a much better chance than in a 60-vote Senate, where they’re simply doomed.
At this point, many of the arguments of filibuster defenders rely heavily on caricaturing the arguments of reformers. The idea that we forgot that Manchin exists falls into that category. A post-filibuster Senate won’t be a progressive utopia, but it will be much, much better.
Exactly. The reason the Senate didn’t have a filibuster in the first place is that our system has plenty of checks and balances without it. The fact that it will still be hard to get things done rebuts the argument the eliminating the filibuster will lead to legislative whiplash.

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More from @AJentleson

19 Feb
This is an exciting agenda but using reconciliation again instead of taking it straight to the floor could be a big strategic mistake. Reconciliation lets Republicans off the hook, shifting attention from their obstruction to inter-party fights over what conforms to its rules...
By using reconciliation, you concede at the outset that Republicans will block the bill, cutting them out of the political narrative. The process takes weeks or months, during which time the narrative will be "Dems in disarray" as they argue over what should go in the package.
The antagonist becomes the Parliamentarian, not Republicans. Republicans get to sit on the sideline and take pot shots. Assembling a package of the size contemplated is a monumental task, which will be much harder without the centripetal unifying force of GOP obstruction.
Read 7 tweets
9 Feb
This is a microcosm. What makes Manchin’s position awkward and I think ultimately unsustainable is that in most instances he will be arguing to give people less help and do less good for our democracy than Biden and his fellow Dems - many of whom are up in 2022 - want to do.
It would be one thing if Manchin’s stand could leverage a bipartisan deal instead of a Dem-only version. But as we’re seeing on covid relief, getting 10 Rs is a fantasy. So it comes down to doing a Dem-only version or nothing at all. Biden and 2022 Dems can’t accept the latter.
I think this is key. I’m a Manchin defender because he has the highest WAR of any Senate Dem (Tester is arguably tied). While I can’t speak for him and would never presume to know his heart, from past experience I believe he does care about Biden’s success & keeping the majority.
Read 5 tweets
6 Feb
Quick PSA on reconciliation: the Senate Parliamentarian is likely to strike out many key provisions that will be found not to comply with reconciliation’s strict rules. This is largely out of Dems’ control and not at all the same as Dems intentionally slimming down the bill.
Reconciliation is governed by strict rules that determine what can and cannot be processed along its fast track. For policies that push the limits, Dems argue their case before the Senate Parliamentarian, like arguing before a judge. Ultimately it’s the Parliamentarian’s call.
A lot of the pieces that have been written about what can and cannot pass under reconciliation are heavy on theory. Theoretically, many things can pass but those theories may not survive contact with parliamentary reality. Worth a try, but don’t be surprised when they get struck.
Read 5 tweets
23 Jan
Biden clearly should not do #1. The problem with #2 is that reconciliation delays the inevitable and creates a tiered system where issues that happen to be ineligible - like civil rights and democracy reform - are relegated to second-class status and left to die by filibuster.
This👇is the danger. By using reconciliation you’re conceding the point that major legislation deserves to pass by majority vote, but only certain kinds for arbitrary reasons. Plus the process itself is opaque and ugly. You risk laying a logistical & political trap for yourself.
All the “here’s what you can do through reconciliation” takes are correct but also look through the wrong end of the telescope. Any of the items mentioned, or a small number of them, would be relatively easy. But putting them all together in one leadership-driven mega package...
Read 16 tweets
21 Jan
The filibuster was not part of the original Senate because the Framers knew exactly how it'd be used- they saw McConnell coming. The filibuster represents Calhoun's vision, not Madison's. Calhoun wanted a Senate where the minority could block the majority.…
To those who say the filibuster encourages bipartisanship, Hamilton addressed this directly in Federalist 22: "What at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison," he wrote of a supermajority threshold. It doesn't encourage cooperation, it encourages obstruction.
The de facto supermajority threshold was first forged against civil rights. Jim Crow-era segregationist senators repurposed a 1917 Senate rule to force every civil rights bill to clear a supermajority threshold, blocking them all. Only civil rights bills were blocked in this way.
Read 7 tweets
19 Jan
A few quick thoughts on this: it's fine. If Dems control the floor and gavels, and ties in committees advance bills or nominations to the floor, those are the powers that come with majority control. Lacking clear majorities on committees might test party unity, but seldomly.
"Power-sharing" is an overstatement. The functional reality of the Senate will not be noticeably different under this than it'd be if Democrats had a bigger majority. The only significant difference is that committees will be evenly divided, but if ties go to Dems, that's fine.
How this works: the Senate has to approve an organizing resolution that sets committee sizes and membership. Under current Senate rules, that resolution needs 60 votes to pass. There's, er, some debate about whether the Senate should go nuclear to abolish the 60-vote threshold...
Read 6 tweets

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